The Press of Atlantic City is a family-owned, politically independent daily newspaper that serves four counties in southeastern New Jersey. It is a region rich in history, tradition, natural treasures and human interests.
From the glitz and glitter of Atlantic City’s gaming halls to the stunning environmental beauty of the vast Pinelands forest, from urban challenges to rural charm, from sprawling suburbs to pristine ocean beaches, the region’s social, economic and cultural diversity help make southeastern New Jersey a wonderful place to live and work.
This has always been a “newsy” place. Things happen here: Good things. Bad things. Amazing things. Outrageous things.
The Press of Atlantic City and its journalistic forbearers have covered it all.
For more than a century, our newspaper has played a critical role in the region’s growth and change.
Our commitment to independent, responsible journfalism has made The Press a valued and respected source of local and regional news and information; award winning investigative and enterprise reports and spirited editorial campaigns have helped the communities we serve change for the better.
From 1895 to Today
In 1895, Walter Edge published the first issue of the Daily Press. Edge later became a two-time governor of New Jersey, a United States senator and an ambassador to France.
In 1905, Edge purchased the competing Evening Union. He sold both newspapers in 1919 to three employees: Albert J. Feyl, Paul J. O'Neill and Francis E. Croasdale. They bought the Gazette Review in 1926 and added a Sunday edition, and ran the newspaper operations until 1951.
Rolland Adams, owner and publisher of the Bethlehem (Pa.) Globe-Times, bought the Atlantic City Press and Press-Union in 1951, but discontinued the Press-Union, an afternoon paper.
Envisioning a regional newspaper, Adams opened bureau offices in Cape May and Cumberland counties several years after assuming ownership. In 1964, he sold the property to his three sons-in-law and their wives: Mr. and Mrs. Donald S. Taylor, Mr. and Mrs. John F. Bitzer Jr. and Mr. and Mrs. George L. Roehr. They formed a family-owned business, Abarta, based in Pittsburgh.
Charles C. Reynolds was editor of the newspaper from 1966-88. He was named publisher in 1975. He retired in 1988. Between 1970 and 1988, the newspaper expanded its operations and changed in a number of significant ways:
- a new editorial office and production plant was completed in Pleasantville in 1970
- a year later the newspaper’s name was changed from The Atlantic City Press to The Press, reflecting the regional nature of the newspaper's focus.
- The Press opened its Trenton Bureau in 1973
- a southern Ocean County bureau was opened in 1975
- in 1987, after half a century in outmoded and cramped quarters in Atlantic City, the advertising, accounting and circulation staffs moved into a new $3.2 million office building on Washington Avenue in Pleasantville. The Atlantic City property was donated to the Atlantic City Medical Center the following year as the site of a proposed new health care facility
- continuing growth forced a doubling of press capacity to 17 units in 1983 and the addition of a 77 by 100-foot building for a new mailroom, offices and a larger newsprint storage area
In 1986, after 22 years as president of the newspaper’s publishing company, Donald S. Taylor retired. He was succeeded by John F. Bitzer Jr., president of Abarta Inc., the parent corporation.
Paul A. Merkoski, the current editor of The Press, succeeded Reynolds as editor in February 1988. That same year, the newspaper’s name was changed to The Press of Atlantic City, and the newsroom operations of the daily and Sunday editions were merged.
James W. Hopson was publisher of The Press from 1989-94. His successor, Robert M. McCormick, was publisher from 1994-2000.
In 1990, The Press created a new publication, At The Shore, a weekly guide to entertainment distributed in the newspaper and at bulk drop locations throughout the region.
That same year, the newspaper purchased Atlantic City Magazine, a monthly publication founded in 1978. John F. Bitzer III was named publisher of the magazine.
Conversion from letterpress to the Flexographic process of printing, a $12 million project, was completed in early 1990 and since then The Press has been printing full process color.
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A $400,000 addition to the production plant was completed in late 1990 to house offices for production and an automatic ink control room.
In 1992, The Press launched a weekly community newspaper, The Current, serving Northfield, Linwood and Somers Point in Atlantic County.
In 1995, The Press created the Bailey Award, an annual award that is presented to civic-minded businesses in southern New Jersey that make an extra effort to contribute to the community.
In 1996, the board of directors of Abarta appointed John F. Bitzer III president and chief executive officer of the family owned company. Bitzer succeeded his father, John F. Bitzer Jr., who retired.
In 2000, Keith L. Dawn who had previously served as the general manager of South Jersey Publishing Company that operated The Press of Atlantic City was named publisher of the newspaper.
That year brought a host of changes to the newspaper:
- a cramped and inefficient newsroom was completely remodeled and expanded to accommodate the growing needs of a changing newspaper.
- the $3.5 million renovation project included a state-of-the-art fiber-optic computer network, new heating and air-conditioning systems, an expanded internet department and additional conference rooms.
- the newspaper’s classified advertising system was replaced as well and the entire newspaper was converted to a narrower page width adopted as the national standard.
In 2001, the name of the company that operates the newspaper was changed from South Jersey Publishing Co. to The Press of Atlantic City Media Group.
From 2001 to the present, the newspaper has been actively expanding its online activities, most notably at its website: PressofAtlanticCity.com